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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Romsey sub Aqua
The River Test is a chalk-born, chalk-borne chalk bourn, that rises somewhere in the Ettinland north of Andover and hurries south as fast as it can, seeking a sanctuary for its clear waters in my home town of Romsey. There it makes a lattice of its many fingers, cracks its knuckles, and winds more leisurely through and under our streets, joining into one single stream only at the town boundary.

It's not a river that's prone to flooding, but even Romsey has been affected by recent events. Most of the houses in my mother's street have sandbags (hers is up a slight slope, luckily), and the Memorial Park where I played as a child is closed due to waterlogging from the streams that run either side of it. My phone isn't great at video, but this gives a sense of the speed of the water, even along one of the river's minor arteries:

Meanwhile, there's no way to walk up the footpath to the Salmon Leap and Green Hill - it's all over sandbags.

2014-02-21 15.26.18

I've occasionally compared Romsey to Trumpton, and in that light the view of the bandstand is particularly affecting:

2014-02-21 15.26.40

Indeed, the sight has woken in me a deep desire to write a Trumpton/Waste Land mashup...

The Trumpton brigade’s
Diurnal oompahpah
Is stilled.

Consider Captain Flack
Subdued to his element
Soused as a salmon
‘tache whiskers
On park railings, buttons
Popped like bindweed flowers
From the sheath.

Flack’s men from Pugh to Grub are gone,
Their sinews sinuous, weed-teased,
Piked and trouted – yet
They were elevated once, as
Tall and handsome as you.


February is the cruellest month, slugging
Sandbags over the slough land, drowning
Memory and desire, sucking
Gum boots with cold mud.
Winter kept us wet...


Winter kept us wet...

You ain't kidding, sister.

I love the way you write about the land.

Thank you.

It will take some time for all this excess water to go away. My cousin went to Littlebourne in Kent yesterday to see the flooding around the village where he use to run a pub. The place is being pumped out and they reckon it will take up to eight weeks!

Yes, I'm afraid that's probably going to be the case in most places affected.

A lovely watery tribute to this winter.

Poor Captain Flack. I hear the bells of the station telephone ringing beneath the waves...

... but will he come when you do call to him?

(Deleted comment)
Lovely! I'd like a sequence about Mrs Cobbit, too:

“You bought my carnations first a year ago;
They called me the carnation woman.
—Yet when you sent Mr Troop to move me on from the town square,
Where I was resting, gin sodden, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Awake nor asleep, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Wo hat mein Leben gegangen"?